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Victorian wine grape growers impacted by low yields

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South-West Victorian wine grape growers have recorded exceptionally low yields as the harvest period approaches a close.

Some wineries have recorded up to an 80 percent drop in yields due to unfavourable weather conditions. ABC News reports that the problems began in spring last year when the grapes did not receive enough sunlight to produce large bunches of fruit.

Diane Nagork, president of the Hently Wine Group in the Hamilton area said that although the quality of the grapes is quite high, smaller yields equate to less income for growers.

"The quality is very good but it doesn't mean you can simply increase your price per bottle to make up for that reduction in quantity," she said.

"If the weather's not conducive to good bunch fertilisation, then we've got small bunches, less of them."

President of the Pyrenees Wine Grape Growers Allen Hart said that the extreme reduction in yields is having a significant impact on the region, and that some growers were experiencing up to an 80 percent drop in volume.

"An example would be 2011, we harvested 25 tonnes and this year it was just a few - two and half, three tonnes," he said.

"I've actually gone out and purchased grapes from other vineyards and other regions because no wine means no income."

Wineries in the Southern Tablelands of NSW have also been impacted by unfavourable weather in recent weeks. Recent rain in the region resulted in an outbreak of botrytis cinerea, a necrotrophic fungus that affects various plant species - in particular wine grapes.

The fungus appeared on a number of red wine crops with some growers reporting significant losses.

photo credit: lpwines via photopin cc

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